“China and the Unofficial Truth”

Evan Osnos has a funny-ish piece about Chinese netizens watching the opulence on display at the NPC and NPCC:

While Premier Wen Jiabao was pledging that the government would “quickly” reverse the widening gap between rich and poor—last year he said it would do so “gradually”—Chinese Web users were scrutinizing photos of delegates arriving for the meeting, and posting photos of their nine-hundred dollar Hermès belts and Birkin and Celine and Louis Vuitton purses that retail for car prices. As Danwei points out, an image that has been making the rounds with particular relish shows the C.E.O. of China Power International Development Ltd, Li Xiaolin, in a salmon-colored suit from Emilio Pucci’s spring-summer 2012 collection—price: nearly two thousand dollars. Web user Cairangduoji paired her photo with the image of dirt-covered barefoot kids in the countryside and the comment: “That amount could help two hundred children wear warm clothes, and avoid the chilly attacks of winter.” And it appended a quote from Li, of the salmon suit, who purportedly once said, “I think we should open a morality file on all citizens to control everyone and give them a ‘sense of shame.’” (This is no ordinary delegate: Li Xiaolin happens to be the daughter of former Premier Li Peng, who oversaw the crackdown at Tiananmen Square.)

Another message making the rounds uses an official high-res photo of the gathering to zoom in on delegates who were captured fast asleep or typing on their smart phones. (h/t ChinaSmack.) A separate message provides instructions on how to be a good delegate: “After you eat, remember to go to the Great Hall to clap! Raise your hands! Clap! Raise your hands! Clap! Raise your hands!” And yet another message going around involves high political stakes: a property developer and conference delegate named Zhang Mingyu was using Weibo to send out calls for help, saying that Chongqing police had raided his Beijing apartment and were planning to detain him for earlier announcing (online, of course) that he planned to tweet juicy new information about a politics/corruption/mafia/police story in the big city of Chongqing. Got that straight?

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Filed under Communist Party, inequality, National People's Congress

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